Archive for October, 2003


Tuesday, October 28th, 2003

There’s been few updates this week since I’ve been under the weather. Now that I’m feeling somewhat better, I can rectify that in the next day or so.

I tried writing while I was sick, but it wasn’t anything resembling readable.

Forum Link

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2003

For those that requested it, the forums link has been moved up and made bigger. You should be able to see this immediately to your right.

Thank you, please pull to the first window.


Monday, October 20th, 2003

I won’t really go too much into the details about this game, since other sites do it much better than I can.

I never really got into tactical games much. I think the last one that I played was Heroes of Might and Magic III for the PC, and I never could make it past the first mission. As a rule, I’m just not particularly good at tactical games. So why did I pick this one up? Excellent question!

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is, apparently, not much like Final Fantasy Tactics for the Playstation. For some reason, I didn’t expect it to be (probably for the same reason I didn’t expect Final Fantasy 8 to be much like Final Fantasy 7), and since my experience with the original Tactics was limited to seeing someone play the game one time for less than 10 minutes, I think that it’s safe to say that I was fairly open-minded to this new foray into the tactics genre.

One of the more interesting features is the Laws system. During the battles, there will be two to four laws in effect that restrict what you can and can’t do in the battle. If you perform an illegal action, you go to jail. Immediately. It’s an interesting addition to the game. It makes you really think about what kind of strategy you will use to win the battle, and it forces you to have a well-balanced team (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

The only real downside to the game is that the battles take so long to complete. I suppose that’s normal for a tactical game, but the battles can take upwards of 30 minutes each. That’s a minor complaint, really. You can save (one time) in the middle of a battle to pick up where you left off.

Overall, it’s a good game so far. Link play looks like it could be interesting, especially since I know of at least one person with the game. All too often I buy a game that has link capabilities, and nobody that I know has the same game.

Once Nintendo makes my fantasy gaming network, maybe that will change.


Monday, October 13th, 2003

Back in the heyday of the NES, you could hardly move without tripping over some gimmicky controller or another (The NES Advantage, The NES Max, The Konami Laser Scope, ROB the Robot, The Power Pad, the Turbo Touch 360, the U-Force, the Roll ‘n Rocker, the Four Score, the NES Satellite, among others). Were most of these controllers wastes of space? Absolutely. Some of them, though, were quite innovative, and it saddens me to see that the kind of weird innovation that we saw during the reign of the NES is waning.

The weird controller/peripheral phenomenon dropped off sharply with the release of the SNES (notable gimmicks included: the Super Game Boy and the XBand Modem), and became even worse during the N64 years (notable gimmicks included: four controller ports, The Rumble Pak {now standard in nearly every controller} the Transfer Pak, connectivity between NFL Blitz 64 and Arcade, and the 64DD {which, sadly, never materialized in the US}).

What sort of gimmicky innovations are we seeing in the Game Cube generation? So far we have the Game Boy Link Cable, the e-Reader, games like Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles and The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords that use the Game Boy as a controller for the Game Cube, the Game Boy Player, and the (promised) connectivity between F-Zero AX and F-Zero GX.

I know that I’ve put a marked Nintendo spin on this article, but they immediately come to mind when I think of peculiar gimmicks (like the Virtual Boy). This isn’t to say that other companies never tried anything new. Sega tried that completely bizarre Seaman game, and Konami (as well as Sony) is having enormous success with the Dance Dance Revolution franchise.

Is gimmicky innovation dead? Hardly, although it isn’t as prevalent as it once was. Every time some new, weird game or controller comes out, I’ll be there giving it a look over and, quite possibly, buying it.

Sprite Comics

Wednesday, October 8th, 2003

Let’s just get this out of the way now. I don’t really like fanfiction all that much (for the sake of this discussion, I’m calling ‘sprite comics’ ‘fanfiction’). That isn’t to say that it is all bad. Some of the fan created works are frightengly good, but they still are just fan works. I firmly believe that it’s better for all involved to pour your creative energies into new and original stories.

Fanfiction is derivitave work. It relies on an already established universe for the author to draw upon. The Fan Fiction author has at his disposal a setting, a history, and characters. Anyone who will read his stories won’t need any background exposition because that was taken care of the creators of the original game (movie, television show, whatever). All the ‘hard work’ of coming up with an original set of circumstances is out of the way.

Another problem is that it’s not canon. No matter how good the story is, in the universe of the game (movie, television show, whatever), it didn’t happen.

There you all go saying “So what?” again.

If you read a lot of fanfiction, the lines between what happened in the fanfiction and the canon start to blur in the memory banks. If/when official sequels come out, there are going to be people who either: A. Are disappointed (or even surprised) that something they wrote/saw in some fanfiction or other wasn’t put in, or B. Are angry that something they did write into a fanfiction and they didn’t get any credit for it.

I think that covers the main reasons. I do have other reasons for disliking fanfiction in general, like the weird crossovers you get (like Zangief teaming up with Simon Belmont to take on the Umbrella Corporation or some such nonsense), but generally, that’s it. I don’t want to read what happened after the credits rolled on Final Fantasy VII, or what goes on at Tom Nook’s house, or A Day in the Life of (insert character name here).

A lot of the fanfiction writers are very talented, and it makes me wonder what kinds of things they could come up with if they built up stories on their own instead of relying on others to do the legwork for them.

Grizzled Gamers

Thursday, October 2nd, 2003

Since the console revolution of the 80’s, gaming has been fairly mainstream. You’d be hard pressed any more to find a household that doesn’t have some kind of game console (or PC with some games on it). I was thinking about that when it hit me: there are kids out there who’s first system was the N64 or Playstation or even the GameCube or XBox.

I can almost hear you saying, “Duh.”

Okay, so it wasn’t that big of a revelation, but it is important to note that a large number of these gamers haven’t played some of the ‘classic’ games and likely never will.

“So what?” I hear you say.

Okay, so it’s a minor ‘So what,’ but let’s say someone between the ages of 8 and 16 picks up a copy of Super Smash Brothers: Melee, a game that is rife with classic game references. Unless he, for some reason, seeks out the older games that the characters appear in, he’s not going to know where Ness comes from, or that the song from Hyrule Castle is from Zelda II (and remixed very nicely), or what a Birdo is, or… well, you get the idea.

Will this make the game any less enjoyable for him? Absolutely not. You don’t need to know the full character history of every character in the game to get enjoyment out of it, but having that knowledge greatly enhances the experience. All of those connections to the past make the game that much more ‘complete.’

Maybe I’m looking through the Fog of Nostalgia(TM) at this issue. Maybe I think that since I had so much fun playing those games that everyone else should play them too. I’d say that’s at least partially true, but I also firmly believe that several of the games I played growing up were just simply good games. Sadly, they often get dismissed because of their ‘graphics’ or because they’re ‘old’ or for any other number of reasons.

The ‘classic’ games are, however, making a return on the Game Boy Advance, which is certainly a good thing. I just hope they’re successful enough that game companies will keep on releasing them. My NES won’t last forever, I’m afraid.

That’s it. I’m heading off to play some Castlevania.